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The importance of Deion Jones to the Falcons' defense can't be overstated


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The importance of Deion Jones to the Falcons' defense can't be overstated

BY CONNOR PRICE • ATLANTA FALCONS • DEION JONES • MAY 17, 2019 

djones.jpg?w=916&h=720HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Deion Jones #45 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after a play in the first quarter during Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

It is no coincidence that the Atlanta Falcons earned the 19th- and 25th- ranked coverage and defensive grade, respectively, in 2018 — the year Deion Jones had his season cut short due to a foot injury. And while Atlanta also lost safety Keanu Neal in the same game, the PFF data suggests that Jones is the player that the Falcons need as the leader of their defense.

The 2017 season was a different story for the Falcons. The defense maintained an 87.6 team defense grade and a 91.0 coverage grade, both of which ranked inside the top eight in the league. This was the season in which Jones proved himself as a top-tier talent in the NFL, as he went on to earn an 87.3 overall grade and a 91.1 coverage grade across his 1,020 defensive snaps.

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Jones looked to be going about his business as usual in Week 1 of the 2018 campaign, as he earned a 90.2 defensive grade across 69 snaps against the Philadelphia Eagles in the season opener. However, injury struck, and after 11 weeks on the inactive list, Jones struggled to refind his feet when he returned, and he earned a 67.9 grade over the last five games of the season.

You do not have to look far to find the area in which Jones excels. His coverage ability, more specifically his ability to break on throws and make plays in the open field, is arguably second to none. Jones produced 22 coverage stops in 2017, the third-highest total of any linebacker in the NFL, and he led the league with nine combined pass breakups and interceptions. These PFF metrics resulted in Jones leading the league in 2017 with a 91.1 coverage grade. 

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The LSU alumnus is entering the fourth year of his rookie deal after being drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft, but PFF data suggests the Falcons might want to look to get ahead of the pack and sign Jones to an extension.

Looking at his tape, it’s not hard to notice that Jones consistently makes plays in coverage, plays that could easily result in a touchdown for a majority of linebackers in the NFL. This playmaking ability is displayed here as rolls to the left and sprints upfield to stall a screen pass to Tarik Cohen, one of the NFL’s most dynamic players.

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Jones’ rare athleticism translates to freakish playmaking ability on the field. The below example is one of many, but it may be the most notable, as he picked off future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees to seal the win over New Orleans. Jones’ 33” vertical leap ranked 13th among draft-eligible linebackers in the 2016 draft class, and it showed itself here.

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It was not a tough decision to put Jones on PFF’s top 25 NFL players under 25 list. We detailed Jones’ career by highlighting His 12.2 forced incompletion percentage which ranks first among qualifying linebackers since 2017, and his 81.0 passer rating allowed which ranks second. Look for Jones to make his case as a Comeback Player of the Year candidate in 2019 as he hopes to not only formulate a comeback season for himself but for the Falcons as well.

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Here is something you might find interesting from the article:

“Jones’ 33” vertical leap ranked 13th among draft-eligible linebackers in the 2016 draft class”

Kazee’s vertical is 34”, so 33” for a LB is pretty dayum good.

But what about the  6’6”,  320lb,  Rashede Hageman’s vertical leap?  It is a mind blowing 35.5” and his broad jump is 114”

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8 hours ago, ATLSlobberKnockers said:

Yeah dude has my vote for best MLB in the league. Hes a force multiplier in that he makes everyone better around him by making their assignments a little easier. He just covers soooo much territory.

I totally agree with this. He absolutely does make everyone better around him.

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Quote

Jones struggled to refind his feet when he returned, and he earned a 67.9 grade over the last five games of the season.

Is this a concern for anyone else besides me? 

I didn't know what his grade was last year after the injury but I know he didn't pass the eyeball test (not looking like himself) but here are the stats....

I just hope with a full off-season, all our injured players come back fearless and ready to play.... and not like trufant (afraid to go all out).

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56 minutes ago, IamFRESCO1 said:

 

Is this a concern for anyone else besides me? 

I didn't know what his grade was last year after the injury but I know he didn't pass the eyeball test (not looking like himself) but here are the stats....

I just hope with a full off-season, all our injured players come back fearless and ready to play.... and not like trufant (afraid to go all out).

No. Pick something you do regularly and then don't do it for 3 months, then pick it back up. You think you'll be the same you were before the three months? No. 

They'll be fine. Training camp with get their legs back and having 5 pre-season games is actually a good thing this year with all of the work they need. 

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58 minutes ago, IamFRESCO1 said:

 

Is this a concern for anyone else besides me? 

I didn't know what his grade was last year after the injury but I know he didn't pass the eyeball test (not looking like himself) but here are the stats....

I just hope with a full off-season, all our injured players come back fearless and ready to play.... and not like trufant (afraid to go all out).

Not concerned at all...He'll be ready.

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2 hours ago, gazoo said:

Here is something you might find interesting from the article:

“Jones’ 33” vertical leap ranked 13th among draft-eligible linebackers in the 2016 draft class”

Kazee’s vertical is 34”, so 33” for a LB is pretty dayum good.

But what about the  6’6”,  320lb,  Rashede Hageman’s vertical leap?  It is a mind blowing 35.5” and his broad jump is 114”

Hageman is incredible, hope he gets everything on-track this year.

Jones had a 35.5" vertical at his pro day, which is much more in-line with his abilities. That two-handed interception off of Brees in the end-zone would have probably been a 40.00" vertical jump one-handed. Their is so much pressure at the Combine to do everything right, and they are pushing so many players through as fast as they can.  

(Perhaps another metric at the Combine should be the two-handed vertical. Dieon would be in the 99th percentile had they had one.)

Edited by Cheap Talk
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2 hours ago, IamFRESCO1 said:

 

Is this a concern for anyone else besides me? 

I didn't know what his grade was last year after the injury but I know he didn't pass the eyeball test (not looking like himself) but here are the stats....

I just hope with a full off-season, all our injured players come back fearless and ready to play.... and not like trufant (afraid to go all out).

Not worried at all he havent played in 3 months who not going to be rusty.

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Our D wasn't great lat year but I remember watching games where we would get to 3rd and long and just needed one more play. In the games against the Saints, Bengals and Cowboys we lost by one score. If we had Jones out there and he made one big play in each of those games, our D would have looked much better (and we would have won 3 more games). He will make a huge difference this year.

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13 hours ago, gazoo said:

Here is something you might find interesting from the article:

“Jones’ 33” vertical leap ranked 13th among draft-eligible linebackers in the 2016 draft class”

Kazee’s vertical is 34”, so 33” for a LB is pretty dayum good.

But what about the  6’6”,  320lb,  Rashede Hageman’s vertical leap?  It is a mind blowing 35.5” and his broad jump is 114”

Say whaaaaaaaat.  That’s crazy.   If he gets any stays focused, he could make the entire d line move to the next level.   In 2016, I saw him just pancake a few guard and put others on roller skates.   

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8 minutes ago, RichardCNile said:

Say whaaaaaaaat.  That’s crazy.   If he gets any stays focused, he could make the entire d line move to the next level.   In 2016, I saw him just pancake a few guard and put others on roller skates.   

Yep, he’s not just huge and powerful, he’s got explosion to go with the mass.  You are right, in mid 2016 things started clicking for him and he was a breast all the way through the Super Bowl.

If we get that guy back, he could help transform the interior of the defense. He can also play DE in passing situations. Dude was breaking into the backfield consistently in late 2016 and playoffs.

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11 hours ago, Cheap Talk said:

Hageman is incredible, hope he gets everything on-track this year.

Jones had a 35.5" vertical at his pro day, which is much more in-line with his abilities. That two-handed interception off of Brees in the end-zone would have probably been a 40.00" vertical jump one-handed. Their is so much pressure at the Combine to do everything right, and they are pushing so many players through as fast as they can.  

(Perhaps another metric at the Combine should be the two-handed vertical. Dieon would be in the 99th percentile had they had one.)

A 35.5” vertical for a 230lb LB is exceptional. 

A 35.5 vertical for a 320lb 6’6” DT is alien. 

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